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In September, the World Health Organization’s director-general called for an extension of the moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine boosters to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population.

But despite this plea, wealthier nations including the UK, US and France have progressed with their booster programmes. Consequently, serious questions have been raised over the ethical implications of prioritising vaccinated populations over those less-wealthy areas that have yet to receive the first dose.

To find out more, we take a look at the reasoning behind booster programmes to understand why they may be needed and the criticisms against introducing them.

Also in this issue, we get to grips with the realities of optimising real-world data in the fight against rare diseases, find out why billionaires in the tech space are turning to pharma in the pursuit of a cure for ageing, speak to Tools4Patients CEO Dominique Demolle about removing the risk of the placebo phenomenon in clinical trials, and much more.

All this, plus the latest industry trends and innovations from GlobalData experts and analysts.

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By GlobalData


In this issue

The reality of optimising real-world data 
Rare disease is an area of great unmet need; though over 7,000 rare diseases have been identified worldwide, less than 5% have treatments. Researchers and pharma companies must harness the potential of real-world data – identifying new sources and ways of utilising and sharing patient information – to optimise rare disease drug discovery and development. Darcy Jimenez reports.
Read the article here.


The ethics of vaccine boosters 
With the huge variance in Covid-19 vaccine rollouts globally, what are the ethics of promoting third booster shots in the world’s wealthiest countries? Abi Millar investigates the balance of evidence around Covid-19 booster vaccine campaigns and their implications for the equitable distribution of life-saving vaccines.
Read the article here.


Forever young: can science cure ageing? 
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reportedly invested in Altos Labs, a new anti-ageing start-up that hopes to prolong human life. The search for a way to prolong human life is an age-old pursuit, but can ageing really be cured? Darcy Jimenez investigates.
Read the article here.


Predicting the placebo response
Tools4Patient’s Placebell is a tool that helps to remove the risk of the placebo phenomenon in clinical trials, reducing the risk of failure. Kezia Parkins speaks to the company’s CEO Dominique Demolle about the system to find out more.
Read the article here.


Generic drug safety: US regulators struggle to keep up with a global market
While foreign manufacturing inspections have increased, the challenges of properly regulating generics from non-US drugmakers remain. Darcy Jimenez finds out more.
Read the article here.


BCG: the history and modern-day uses of the tuberculosis vaccine
The BCG vaccine jab has shown promise in ongoing Covid-19 trials, leading to speculation that the jab could be repurposed to help fight the virus. To learn more, Darcy Jimenez profiles the history of the TB vaccine and its diverse applications today.
Read the article here.


Next issue preview

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted more clearly than ever the need for security and traceability at every step of the drug supply chain.

In the next issue of Pharma Technology Focus we look at how digitising the pharma supply chain – and utilising blockchain technology – can ensure medicines travel from manufacturer to patient with greater visibility and security and reduce the risk of counterfeit drugs entering supplies.

Also, for patients that are struggling to get hold of vital medical because of supply chain issues or are left without legally approved medications due to political rulings, the dark web can be a tempting – if risky – solution.

To find out why illegal online pharmacies have become a final resort, we talk to some of those impacted by drug shortages, and the companies that are having to compete with illegal trade.